Alton withstands comeback attempt, whips Quincy at shootout

News-DemocratJanuary 9, 2014 

— Alton's fast start proved enough Thursday.

The Redbirds led 12-6 after one quarter and 27-14 at halftime en route to a 57-40 victory over Quincy in the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout at Scottrade Center.

Bryan Hudson, a 6-foot-7 junior, had 13 points, 12 rebounds and three steals to lead Alton (11-1), while senior Michael Williams-Bey scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Senior D'Antae McMurray had nine points on three 3-pointers.

"Kind of what we talked about with the kids was just our energy level," Alton coach Eric Smith said. "We had three or four trips where we looked outstanding and we were all over the place -- attacking the basket, getting steals, (filling) passing lanes.

"Then we would go three trips where we would stand and watch them get a rebound, or they would get a three-point play because we were in the wrong spot. It was kind of up and down for us."

That enabled the Blue Devils (5-7) to stay within striking distance. Quincy, despite its double-digit halftime deficit, became dangerous in the second half when its offense began to percolate.

Senior guard Zach Burry, who paced all scorers with 16 points, made back-to-back 3s that drew the Blue Devils within 44-36 at the 5:19 mark of the fourth quarter.

But Alton recovered, extending its margin back to 12 points before closing the contest with a 7-0 flurry.

Quincy coach Sean Taylor bemoaned his team's slow start, particularly on the offensive end.

"We held them to 27 in the first half, and they can score the ball," Taylor said. "We need to be within three or four. If we get 24, which isn't an explosion, it's a game. We did a good job hanging in there.

"Defensively, we played pretty well the entire night. We've just got to find a way to be more consistent offensively."

Senior Barnell Thomas had 15 points and three assists for the Blue Devils, who forced 20 turnovers. No other player had more than three points. Junior Lincoln Elbe handed out four assists, but was guilty of eight of Quincy's 17 turnovers.

"Barnell played his best game of the year, especially the last three quarters," Taylor said. "He missed some bunnies early, and to me, that's probably where the game was decided."

Quincy was 15-for-49 from the field (31 percent), including 5-for-22 in the first half as the Redbirds established control.

"You've got to find a way to get the ball in," Taylor said. "I tell them, 'I know you're not trying to miss, but we need you to make the ball.'

"I thought our effort was good. We turned them over more than they turned us over. They didn't get a lot of offensive rebounds (14). We did a lot of things well; we've just got to be a little more consistent offensively."

Alton outscored the Blue Devils 36-12 in the paint and 12-2 on fast breaks while outrebounding them 43-25. The Redbirds' bench outscored Quincy's 16-4, with Alton junior Darrius Edwards chipping in with eight points.

"The thing for us right now is to try to get them to play six plays instead of three plays," said Smith, whose team will play at Belleville West on Friday. "It's not that we don't play hard, but we have stretches where we take a couple of plays off and stand around and watch a little bit."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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